Facility Plan for Polar Seismic and Geodetic Science is Available

The seismic and geodetic Polar communities have worked with IRIS and UNAVCO to provide a plan for the growth, development, management and governance of Polar support services for the NSF facilities. This plan is now complete and posted on the IRIS webpage (go to Publications => Other Workshops or click here).

The executive summary from this report is included below:

"Seismological and geodetic research in polar regions addressing interdisciplinary science questions of global significance is leading to major scientific breakthroughs and technological advances, most notably in the areas of ice sheet dynamics and mass balance, solid earth structure and deep earth processes. The research has direct relevance to societal needs and NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) research goals, and relies heavily on support from the IRIS and UNAVCO facilities.

The importance of polar seismic and geodetic science has led, over the past decade, to rapid growth in the number of NSF-sponsored projects utilizing seismic, GPS and other remote sensing equipment. The scope of the research goes well beyond the fields of geodesy and seismology, and includes climatology, meteorology, glaciology, geomorphology, volcanology, and space physics. The rapid growth in the number and variety of polar projects impacting the IRIS and UNAVCO facilities, the frequency of requests to NSF for project support, and the need to coordinate field logistics across many projects is creating significant challenges for all involved, including principal investigators, facility staff, and NSF program managers.

To address these challenges, a workshop titled “Building a Framework for Facility Support for Polar Seismic and Geodetic Science” was held September 8-9, 2011 at the National Science Foundation. The workshop brought a broad cross-section of the science community that utilizes UNAVCO and IRIS facility support together with NSF program managers and staff from UNAVCO and IRIS. A primary need identified during the workshop was for a facility plan to guide the growth and management of the UNAVCO and IRIS polar facilities over the next 5 to 10 years.

This facility plan, developed from the workshop outcomes, describes the services currently provided by IRIS and UNAVCO for supporting polar seismic and geodetic projects, documents the strengths of the facilities, identifies major challenges facing them, especially from increasing community demands, and gives guidance for the management and growth of the facilities through a number of recommendations. Summaries of major challenges and cross-referenced recommendations are provided below. The recommendations, grouped into three broad categories (technology, management and governance), specify ways to strengthen and expand the services provided to the community, improve governance, and enhance data recovery and quality through harnessing technological advances."